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Theater Reviews : Angels’ ‘Neon Tetra’ Takes Aim at Icons

Handily living up to its satirical premise about a housewife’s transformation into a lip-syncing phenom, Sebastian Stuart’s “Neon Tetra” at Angels Theater takes short, biting jabs at all sorts of trendy jugulars--and usually connects with hilarious accuracy.

Nancy Reed engagingly carries the title role through the stock stages of stardom--from shy ingenue to blossoming artist to uptight prima donna to pathetic has-been 20 years in the future, and Kevin Williamson plays her nerdy true love with impeccable whining conviction.

Along the way, we can’t help reveling in Stuart’s delightfully catty potshots at cultural icons (like the inspired rock video of the “I Dream of Jeannie” theme with lyrics by existential chanteuse Suzanne Vega) in a society that elevates pretense to an art form. Despite Alexa Hunter’s crisp direction, however, a few scenes overstay their welcome.

Is “Neon Tetra” worth seeing? As one of Stuart’s 21st-Century teeny-boppers would say in future-slang for self-evidence, “Well, duh --is Kevin Costner President?”

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* “Neon Tetra,” Angels Theater, 2106 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays,7 p.m. Ends Aug. 27. $10. (213) 466-1767. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.


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